Whether you’re a solopreneur, manage a team of many or somewhere in between, given today’s fast paced, changing world, L and D (as in learning and development) is not optional. It’s mandatory.
But rest assured, lest that bring to mind awkward memories of struggling to learn in school, L and D today, can be whatever you want and need it to be.
Here are three reasons why you need to carve out time for learning and development, followed by three ways to do it.
Did you know you have some 11 million bits of information coming at you ….per second. And yet we pay attention to about 40 (Mind; a scientific guide to who you are, how you got that way & how to make the most of it by Patricia Daniels, National Geographic). That’s a whole lotta info and it’s only increasing.
Learning and Development helps press the reset button by keeping us from getting staid and stodgy. When you lean into learning you’re constantly discovering new things.
Like the canned response option in Gmail that my dear friend and colleague Marsha Shandur taught me just the other day. If you’re a Gmail user check it out. It’s a nifty way to save time and amp up your productivity by having commonly used emails at your fingertips.
Learning and development is refreshing. Like gymnastics for your brain, L and D trains your brain to not get stuck in a rut. I’ve started an online program called Simple Year and this month I’m learning all about clutter. It’s been refreshing to discover that what I’m learning is keeping my mental clutter at bay, not just my physical clutter.
L and D is refreshing because it keeps us innovative, current and on the cutting edge. A perfect example of this is when Rich Silverstein was pitching the car company Isuzu to get their advertising business. Before the Isuzu executives came to his company for the pitch meeting, he put flyers on Isuzu cars all around the neighbourhood, promising them $50 if they’d park their car near his office on pitch day. The result? The executives showed up, to their surprise and delight, to a veritable parking lot of their cars. Oh, and he got the account.
Learning and development keeps you rejuvenated by moving forward, with more depth, curiosity, knowledge and practice. Like the finely honed IDEO company whose middle name is innovation, they’ve crafted a wildly successful design process based on years of learning. One example is their learning around what makes for ‘hot groups,’ or teams that consistently knock it out of the park. I’m working on a blog post on that so stay tuned.
Reset, refresh and rejuvenation are three reasons why learning and development is critical. But how do you get started or ramp up your already existing efforts?
Here’s three ways to anchor a learning culture for you, your team and/or your organization.
Grab your deerstalker hat and magnifying glass and pay attention to how you / your team / your organization learns best. Here are some questions to guide you:
- What are your learning styles?
- What type of environment best supports your learning?
- What channels do you learn best from? Books, groups, conferences, podcasts,
in personworkshops, online courses etc.
Be super uber deliberate about what want to learn. Spend some time thinking deeply on this. Some of the topics on my list this year are to learn more about Workflowy (a simple elegant to do app I’m obsessed with) and digital marketing.
Then map out your learning for the year. Part of my strategy (because I learn well from books) is to have a year’s reading list queued up, a minimum of one book a month.
3. Dance and/or To Done
Now it’s time to combine 1 and 2. Once you’ve discovered how you learn best, combine that with what you want to learn et voila, you’ve got your learning plan.
Then get going and celebrate. Feel free to dance a little jig ‘cause you got this. And don’t forget to track what you’ve learned.
I call this my ‘to done’ list. For example I’m keeping a list of all the areas I’ve decluttered (as opposed to making a list of all I have yet to declutter). I can’t tell you how motivating and uplifting it is to look at a list of things I’ve accomplished instead of lengthy to do list.
And don’t’ forget to join like minded learners, that can help support you in your learning, like those in my L and D roundtable. We meet monthly in person and online for a wide variety of learning topics, all of which are recorded which you can view at your leisure. We’ve got 6+ years of resources and 500+ folks waiting to support you in your learning. Welcome fellow learner!